Patanjali's WhatsApp rival 'Kimbho' disappears from app stores in a day
The 'Swadeshi chat app' notched up 10,000 installs in 24 hours before disappearing from all platforms. Kimbho says it is "upgrading" its servers.
After disrupting the domestic FMCG industry, Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali has turned its attention towards another fast-moving, fast-evolving space - communication and technology.
Within a span of two days, Patanjali announced its partnership with state-owned telecom operator BSNL to sell Swadeshi Samriddhi SIM cards, and also rolled out an instant messaging app, Kimbho.
Strangely enough, the app disappeared from Google Play Store, App Store as well as its own webpage in a day. But in the time it was available, Kimbho notched up over 10,000 installs on Play Store and was rated 3.9 out of 5.
While there are theories floating around that the app was removed by Apple and Google because it aped another chat application, Bolo Messenger, Kimbho tweeted this morning that it was faced with heavy traffic and was upgrading its servers.
So, what is #Kimbho app?
Kimbho means “what’s going on” or “what’s up” in Sanskrit, Patanjali spokesperson SK Tijarawala revealed. It is being touted as the “Swadeshi chat app” that will rival WhatsApp, which boasts over 200 million users in India - its largest global market.
While announcing the Kimbho app, Tijarawala tweeted, "Ab bharat bolega. WhatsApp ko milegi takkad. (Now India will talk. WhatsApp will face competition).”
The app developed by Patanjali Communication mirrors WhatsApp and several other messaging apps in functionalities. Users can share video and voice messages, do internet calling, send photos, stickers, GIFs, emojis, contacts and links. They can also write or create motifs and doodles with their fingers.
Kimbho is also receptive to device shake. Users can ‘shake’ their mobile handset to share their location with contacts. They can even do group chats, broadcast lists, and follow celebrities from within the app.
The app, however, asks for access to almost all device permissions including microphone, contacts, photos, videos, WiFi, device ID and more. Several users have raised privacy concerns around it.
French security researcher Baptiste Robert (who goes by the name of Elliot Anderson on Twitter) has called it a “security disaster”. He said that the Kimbho app had several bugs and he could access all messages users were sending.
He even urged users to not install the app.
He further said that Kimbho was a “copy paste” job.
The researcher, respected in the internet world, has in the past outed several security loopholes in Aadhaar too.